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Tru-Tension Monkey Juice Gel Bike Cleaner is a surprisingly powerful yet gentle formula that shifts most types of oily, scuzzy stuff with only moderate effort. The deeply synthetic banana smell won't please everyone and there are cheaper ways to wash your bike effectively, but, used carefully, a little goes a long way.
Instead of having the usual watery consistency, Monkey Juice is a gel designed to cling on and make greater inroads into the grime. Consequently you can use less of it, because it's not just running straight off.
Furthermore, once the bike's clean and rinsed off, there's still a thin, dirt-repellent layer left behind, which theoretically keeps your bike cleaner for longer and makes subsequent washes that bit easier. It's the same principle as car wash 'n' waxes, but I'm told the alchemy is different. As we'd hope, this doesn't contain any harmful surfactants, salts, chemicals or acids and is, therefore, safe on all materials and surfaces.
It's important to leave your bike marinating for a couple of minutes, and then get in there with a brush to work filth loose. Embossed coverings respond particularly well to this and, so long as you rinse with warm water, the results are pleasing first time.
Since the gel hangs around for several minutes, there's minimal wastage and little call for reapplication – even on weathered/impacted petrochemicals.
Should you neglect to rinse Monkey Juice away, it dries to a consistency reminiscent of caked-on Weetabix. However, a prompt tickle with a damp brush lathers it up again easily.
Monkey Juice is slower-acting than some cleaners, but regains the lost time with a superior result. I found it saved a couple of minutes per wash overall, and results are uniformly good on gloss and satin finishes. Mud, dung and rainy filth simply disintegrate into a puddle below.
It does a decent job of removing road tar and flung chain lube from the rear triangle too.
Use this on matt finishes and, inevitably, the remaining layer will add some gloss and you'll need a matt polish. However this is a finish rather than a product issue.
As for the protectant layer, it seems reasonably effective, and on a par with car type wash 'n' wax formulas (water is still beading up and rolling away, several weeks in) which I tend to default to.
Value is okay if not exceptional as, at £9 per litre, Monkey Juice is fairly expensive, and that thick gel formula only saves – as far as I can tell – around 10 per cent over regular watery cleaners. Oxford Mint Bike Wash is £6.99 a litre and, though slower acting, effective. At £7.99 per litre, Juice Lubes Dirt Juice is reasonably effective too, while Green Oil Green Clean is also £7.99.
Monkey Juice isn't the most expensive, though: £9.99 buys just 750ml of Flaer Revive, though its prowess impressed our tester.
I've been pleasantly surprised by Monkey Juice. It's gentle yet ruthlessly efficient on ingrained grot, and the layer it leaves after rinsing has some genuine benefits. However, there are cheaper options for those who frequently wash their bikes, or don't get them heavily soiled in the first place.
Effective cleaner with useful protective properties, but a bit pricey – and that banana smell...
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tru-Tension Monkey Juice Gel Bike Cleaner
Size tested: 1 Litre
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Tru-Tension says: "Our applied MicroFoam science uses microscopic foam generated by our industry leading formulation to quickly and effortlessly remove dirt in any conditions."
My feelings: I'm not sold on the distinctly synthetic banana smell, but it's an effective and seemingly economical bike wash.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The company says:
"Unlike other cleaners which quickly evaporate or drip off, Monkey Juice is designed to cling to the surface ... Once rinsed, your bike is left with a micro layer protective coating which reduces dirt build up and makes future cleaning a breeze.
"Our formulation is completely Biodegradable and contains no harmful surfactants, salts, chemicals or acids.
"Monkey Juice is safe to use on all surfaces, including paint, carbon, rubber and brake components."
Gel formulation is very effective, and the layer left behind actually seems quite effective too.
The protectant barrier is proving more durable than I was expecting.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Clings on, gobbles grime and protectant barrier is genuinely useful.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Synthetic banana scent.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £9 per litre, Monkey Juice is fairly expensive, and that thick gel formula only saves – as far as I can tell – around 10 per cent over regular watery cleaners. Oxford Mint Bike Wash is £6.99 a litre and, though slower acting, effective. At £7.99 per litre, Juice Lubes Dirt Juice is reasonably effective too, while Green Oil Green Clean is also £7.99.
Monkey Juice isn't the most expensive, though: £9.99 buys just 750ml of Flaer Revive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's an effective bike wash with some unique properties. Not the cheapest, but it works well, and lasts.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)